Legal • January 25, 2008
Dear Berkeley Property Owner
Since the passage of Measure P, which addressed security deposit interest payments, the Berkeley Rent Board has required us to over pay millions of dollars in security deposit interest payments to tenants. We have told the Rent Board that its regulations are illegal and inconsistent with the voter approved mandate. Astonishingly, Rent Board staff has acknowledged the problem, but the Board has done nothing to fix it and continues, despite this acknowledgment, to demand that we pay amounts to tenant that are illegally high.
On December 7, BPOA transmitted a letter to the Rent Board asking it to discontinue its illegal actions and take corrective steps to address past over payments that it has forced owners to make to tenants. We gave them a deadline of December 21. On that date we received an intellectually dishonest and insulting response. The Executive Director attempted to retract the earlier staff acknowledgment that the regulations were improper, while nevertheless asking us to help the Rent Board fix the problem in a potential November ballot measure.
Well, we have a better course of action. We have retained Fred Feller to sue the Berkeley Rent Board to stop enforcement of its illegal regulations and seek corrective relief for all of the illegal over payments that the Rent Board has forced Berkeley owners to make. Our attorney thinks that our chances of prevailing are quite high.
Now we must turn to you for help. Protecting and defending our rights through litigation is a costly endeavor. We will need to raise about $40,000.
Why so much? We know from past experience that the Board's strategy is to engage in very costly legal maneuvers to try to discourage us from suing them. We expect unnecessary demands for pre-trial discovery, depositions, half-hearted motions to dismiss our case and other costly procedures.
While these maneuvers are costly they have never been successful. We have a solid litigation tract record against the Board because we limit our litigation strategies to the best cases and clearly this is one.
The BPOA Board of Directors has asked me to contact every Berkeley Property owner to support this effort. I am asking you to write a check for $100. The money will be placed in an escrow account until we receive at least $20,000.00 so we know we will have the resources to go forward. If we do not receive that minimum contribution, we will not be able to follow through on a lawsuit and we will return your contribution.
In 2007 we had many successful campaigns. Two that stand out are getting rid of Kavanagh and helping to organize the effort to place a measure on the June 2008 ballot to end rent control.
Let's start 2008 with the same aggressive approach toward protecting and defending our rights. Please send a check for $100 or more today.
Make you check payable to the BPOA and in the memo state that it is for the Security Deposit Litigation Fund.
Thank you for your help.